With all the attention paid to hair, makeup and, of course, gowns, it’s easy to forget that hands and feet also play an important part in your big day – you walk down the aisle, a ring is placed on your finger and then you dance the night away. Here’s how to ensure that your manicure/pedicure live happily ever after – or at least look picture-perfect all day.

Proper Prep

The myth is that if you get a “good” manicure, your polish will last longer. This is true to some extent; however, the length of time your polish will last is primarily due to the health of your nails. If they are too dry, the polish will chip; too thin and the polish won’t hold; too oily and the polish will peel.

To avoid these mani/pedi messes, try to focus on the fact that your well-being – getting enough sleep, exercise and water, in addition to eating a healthy, balanced diet – is just as important as flowers and seating charts, if not infinitely more so. And try your best to find ways to relieve the added stress, such as taking long walks, reading a book in the bath, going to a movie with a girlfriend or snuggling with your sweetie – your nails will thank you for it. Stress depletes your body of the vitamins necessary for your polish to last longer than the typical three days.

But it’s also a good idea to remember that practice makes perfect. Two months before the wedding itself, start getting manicures and pedicures every two weeks to ensure both your hands and feet will look their best – and photo-ready – on your wedding day. These “trial runs” will help you select the best shape and color, and can help soften and even skin tone and eliminate unsightly hangnails.

Pretty Tips

The shape you select for your manicure may depend on the shape of your fingers, nails or personal preference, but stick with an oval shape or a softly rounded square because these looks are more natural and prevent chipping. Square is too masculine and snags on everything.

As for color, it depends more on the style of the bride than changes in trends – some may want to rock iridescent azure tips for their “something blue,” while others might be partial to the retro look and thus opt for a classic red. Most brides tend to prefer unobtrusive French manicures or sheer pale pink tones. These subtle pigments don’t attract too much attention and are especially helpful for women with extremely short or bitten nails. And although busy brides tend to worry more about their fingers than their feet, as bare toes rarely end up in wedding photos, soft pinks also are a popular color for pedicures.

You may also want to research the brand of polish a particular salon prefers before you book your appointment. OPI has excellent polishes that are long-lasting but don’t contain touline, a toxic liquid hydrocarbon and solvent that is believed to cause birth defects. But I don’t recommend completely chemical-free nail polish, because it gums up, chips easily and can peel off hours after application.

Make it Last

To ensure brides look polished throughout all their events, come in the day before the rehearsal and then allow time for a manicure polish change either the evening before or morning of the main event. To prevent dryness and hangnails and to make your mani/pedi more long-lasting, Massage vitamin E oil into your nail beds.

Tip Tune-Ups

If you are going to a salon for a touch-up right before you walk down the aisle, bring your own bottle of polish so that the emergency color-match is exact – just in case the salon is out of the original color. To fix a problem on your own, use your finger to dab the chipped area with polish remover to smooth it out, fill the area with the original polish color, let it dry for 10 minutes and then cover the nail with one final coat for a seamless finish.

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